Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby, DBE, is an English soprano and one of the world's most renowned early music specialists. She has sung on over 100 recordings. Kirkby was a founding member of the Taverner Choir, and in 1973 began her long association with the Consort of Musicke. She took part in the early Decca Florilegium recordings with both the Consort of Musicke and the Academy of Ancient Music, at a time when most college-trained sopranos were not developing a vocal sound appropriate for early music. She taught for many years at Dartington International Summer School, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, as well as the Bel Canto Summer School. In 2010 she became President of Dartington Community Choir.
In 1994, she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Music) from the University of Bath. In 2011 Kirkby was awarded the Queen's Medal for Music, an award funded by the Privy Purse and given to an individual who has had a significant influence on the musical life of the nation.